In vino veritias. The winners are in the wine.
Colts +3.5 at Jaguars: Although they can never admit it in public, I wonder if the Colts really don't want the No. 1 pick. Think about it: landing the top spot brings along some difficult decisions — how do you handle the Manning/Luck situation? — and that also invites the circus to town. Maybe it's better to win here, have the Rams lose, pick second and stay tied to your franchise QB. Temporary starter Dan Orlovsky has been sharp since taking over as the starting quarterback (only the Baltimore start was a messy one), and the Jags have no depth in the secondary. Indianapolis takes it outright.
Lions -3.5 at Packers: Detroit cares about this game, Green Bay doesn't. And when you see the (shall we say) aggressive Lions on the other side of the ball, you might want to rest your primary guys if the outcome has no meaning for you. I'll be shocked if Aaron Rodgers plays into the second quarter, and I could see him skipping the game entirely.
Patriots -11 vs. Bills: Foxboro's overrated as a home-field edge, especially since the new stadium came into play. The Pats actually have a better point differential on the road this year. But they know they need to secure the No. 1 seed in conference (playing at home still beats playing on the road, especially in the playoffs) and there's a matter of payback for the stunning Week 3 loss at Buffalo. The Bills have no pass rush and not a lot of talent in the secondary; this one gets ugly.
Ravens -2 at Bengals: Cincinnati's been a bully this year: beat up on the weak clubs, then fall against the stern challengers. Sorry, Bengals, but the Ravens need this game and they're taking it from you. Cedric Benson better figure out how to secure the ball; he's put it on the ground five times in the last two weeks. I never feel that great sidling up to Joe Flacco, but so long as he doesn't hand the game away, Baltimore's defense can win it. Most of Andy Dalton's key stats have slipped in the second half (it's not a collapse, but there's been some regression).
Cowboys +3 at Giants: When in doubt in the NFC East, take the points (the dog is 8-2 in division play this year). Also look for a lot less scoring than the previous meeting, for a number of reasons (location, running backs are healthier, rematches tend to be more conservative, etc).
A happy and safe New Year to everyone. Let's figure out 2012 together.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/American Football